I CALL MY CHILDREN NATO AFRICANS

Listen.

Listen to the silence of urgency as a woman succumbs to her primordial instincts to give birth. Is this preparation for the final push?  Or a false alarm on an inevitable journey of undeterminable duration.

Time becoming timeless.

Suddenly the piercing sound as her body convulses under the weight of the foreign (and yet so intimately connected) entity that has permeated her being for months, and is now demanding escape.

What is the colour of the mother’s screams?

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As much of modern society’s preoccupation with rational thought and provable hypotheses grow ever stronger, DNA analysis is a “Godsend”. We can delve into the history of the human species with ever increasing accuracy, and learn many interesting facts.

Such as…….

There is more genetic variation in a group of chimpanzees than there is in the entire human population.

What does this teach us?  Surely that the similarity in the DNA make-up of all of us humans connects us far more intimately than we realise.

So words like racism that permeate our thought process should have no meaning.  The “Institute for race relations” is a misnomer. A title such as the "institute for ethnic relations" is more acccurate. 

We throw ourselves some fantastical terminology to describe and accentuate our differences.

My 11 year old daughter came home from school and told me she was mixed race. I asked her – human race mixed with what? She couldn’t answer me because there is no answer. How about the term 'bi-racial'? Ludicrous!

Paradoxically as we look at South African history, some of those closely associated with the term 'black consciousness' offer the foresight that beckons positive new possibilities for us all.

Robert Sobukwe, learder of the pan-africanist congress said: “There is only one race; that is the human race”. Steve Biko said: “In time we will be in a position to bestow on South Africa the greatest possible gift – a more human face”.

When is that time? Who are, or will be, the bestowers of the gift?

So if my daughter is not of mixed race, or biracial, or coloured, then what is she?

To me she is nato-african, A naturalised african born of an anglo-african father and an indigenous african mother.

Once we recognise that culture and language are the most important factors in determining the value systems make-up of a human being, and not colour, then we open ourselves to a new world of substantive engagement prospects.  And we become much stronger in shaping our future in the embodiment of that most Taoist of phrases by Oliver Tambo; unity in diversity.

As we look to the milestone of 20 years of democracy in South Africa, and as we carry (along with other baggage from the past) the convoluted labels from apartheid ideology that have morphed into current “political” descriptions : whites, blacks in general and Africans in particular, isn’t it about time that we offer accurate alternatives that allow a shared sense of belonging? Nelson Rholihlahla Mandela, the recently departed father of the nation and the global colossus showed what impact and power is achieveable by recognising the humanity in the self and in everyone he came into contact with. 

So to all of us indigenous africans, nato-africans, anglo-africans, euro-africans, indo-africans etc.

Let's colour ourselves human.

 

MAHUBE (1997)

Africa is it you whose back is bent under the weight of slavery? *

Or is it you who carries eyes of vision and pride to face the new day?

 

Africa is it you whose hungry mouth cries out in pity?

Or is it you whose rich voice thunders across mountains and valleys?

 

Out of Africa we rise

Do not glorify the name, Africa

It's riches speak for themselves

It's people have much to teach the world

 

Rise up Africa, take care of your people

Rise up Africa, let your song be sung

* - taken from a poem by Agustinho Neto

 

CHERISH THE DREAM (1989)

Listen my child, freedom's song is calling you

Listen my child, it's happiness cries out your name

Listen the wind, breathing gently

And look the stars, shining brightly

And feel your heartbeat, rise and fall

The rhythm of a new day, a new way

 

CHORUS

History's wheel is turning round

A better life is going to be found 

Beyond burning flames that touch the sky

So that you may live many have died

 

Listen my child, the world is full of misery

Listen my child, don't view the world through cynical eyes

Don't give up hope, when all around is despair

Cherish the dream we all have to share

There'll come that time, and you'll hold the key

To the beginning of a new day, a new way

 

CHORUS

History's wheel is turning round

A better life is going to be found

Beyond burning flames that touch the sky

So that you may live, many will die

 

Listen my child

The war being fought is not yet won

Listen my child

Don't tire before the race is run

Don't give up hope

When all around is despair

Cherish the dream

We all have to share

The darkest hour is just before dawn

And the beginning of a new day, a new way

CHORUS

 

COLOUR ME HUMAN

Our most positive, powerful and unifying life-force is that we are all human.

We are one human race – the terms “rascist” and “racism” should have no meaning.

Ubuntu is recognising other voices as well as our own, and recognising that both shape the other

                                                Steve Dyer        

 

In time we will be in a position to bestow on South Africa the greatest possible gift – a more human face.
                                                Steve Biko

There is only one race to which we all belong, and that is the human race.
                                               Robert Sobukwe

CREATIVE WISDOM

YU - Chinese philosophy
The way which goes beyond skill

YU occurs
When perception and understanding have come to a stop and the spirit moves where it wants – 
When the individual gives up conscious mastery

What is the relationship of this philosophy to African and other cultures’ spirit worlds?


MUSIC

I have never understood a bar of music in my life, but I have felt it.
                    `            Igor Stravinsky

Music improvisation has never been given the credit it deserves.
                                Keith Jarret

If a composer could say what he wanted to say in words he would not bother trying to say it in music. 
                                Gustav Mahler

A note doesn’t give a damn who played it.
                                Dexter Gordon

PHILOSOPHICAL TITBITS

UBUNTU – 
I am because we are
A person is a person by/through other people    African social philosophy                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

If you are pained by external things, it is not they that distract you, but your own judgement of them
                    Emperor Marcus Aurelius

The journey is the reward
                    Chinese proverb